NEW YORK (AP) –Serena Williams is planning to play in the 2020 U.S. Open. The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion says in a video shown during the U.S. Tennis Association’s tournament presentation Wednesday that she “cannot wait to return” to New York for the major championship she has won six times.
The U.S. Open will be held without spectators from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13.
In addition, electronic line-calling will be used instead of line judges on all U.S. Open courts except the two largest arenas. Singles qualifying, mixed doubles, junior and wheelchair competition are being eliminated entirely. There also will be three ball people instead of six at courts other than Arthur Ashe Stadium and Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Those are among the changes announced by the U.S. Tennis Association as it outlined plans for running its Grand Slam tournament in New York City amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In an unusual arrangement, the tuneup tournament normally held in Cincinnati will be held right before that — but at the U.S. Open’s site.
Among the other changes: Men’s and women’s doubles will be reduced from 64 teams each to 32 and only players not in singles may enter.
With qualifying cut, each of the 128-player fields for men’s and women’s singles will include 120 players who get in via their ranking and eight who receive wild-card invitations.
Players will be allowed up to three guests and up to two rooms at a pair of designated hotels. One will be paid for by the USTA and one by the player. There also will be the option for players to rent a house outside of Manhattan.
The USTA has not decided exactly how many entourage members will be allowed on-site.
Also Wednesday, the women’s and men’s professional tours issued what they called “provisional” calendars to resume sanctioned competition in August after being suspended since early March because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The WTA said its first event would be the Palermo Ladies Open in Italy the week of Aug. 3. The ATP said its players would return to action at the Citi Open in Washington beginning Aug. 14, where women also will compete. The next week will be the ATP-WTA tournament that is usually held in Cincinnati. One tournament dropped from the 2020 schedule: the Rogers Cup in Canada.
After the hard-court “doubleheader” in New York, the tours will shift to European red clay for tournaments in Madrid and Rome before the French Open’s main draw new start date of Sept. 27.
The WTA said it anticipates all of its upcoming tournaments will be held without spectators.
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